Princess Charlene's life and marriage to Prince Albert as she celebrates 45th birthday

Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrated her 45th birthday on Wednesday.

The glamorous royal was no doubt treated to a special day with her husband, Prince Albert, and their eight-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella. Take a look at some of their best moments together in the video below.

WATCH: Princess Charlene's life and style

Charlene returned to public life in Monaco last spring after an ear, nose and throat infection left her grounded in South Africa for much of 2021.

Prince Albert confirmed to PEOPLE magazine that he and Charlene will attend King Charles III's coronation in London on 6 May, and no doubt the princess will choose something spectacular to wear for the service.

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As Charlene marks a milestone birthday, HELLO! takes a look back at her early life, her marriage to Prince Albert and her passions.

Princess Charlene's early life – place of birth, parents and more

Charlene Lynette Wittstock was born on 25 January 1978 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to Michael and Lynette Wittstock. She also has two younger brothers, Gareth and Sean.

The family relocated to South Africa in 1989 when Charlene was 12 years old.

Princess Charlene's swimming career

The future royal displayed a talent for the sport from a young age and went on to win three gold medals and a silver at the 1999 All-Africa games in Johannesburg.

Princess Charlene at 2000 Sydney Olympics
Princess Charlene at 2000 Sydney Olympics

Charlene training at the Sydney 2000 Olympics

Charlene also represented South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games, winning a silver medal in the 4 x 100m medley relay in the latter competition. She was also part of the South African women's 4 x 100m medley team at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, which finished fifth.

Where did Charlene Wittstock meet Prince Albert?

The Olympic swimmer and the Monaco royal met at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco in 2000 and made their public debut as a couple at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in 2006
Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in 2006

Albert and Charlene made a loved-up debut in 2006

In an interview with Vogue in 2011, Charlene said: "Our first public appearance was at the Turin Olympic Games in 2006. Albert put me at ease. It was clear that we shared the same passions; we both became very emotional watching the athletes. Sport is the common denominator of our lives."

When did Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock get married?

The couple announced their engagement in 2010 and their wedding in July 2011 made headlines around the world.

The three-day celebrations began with a concert on 30 June 2011 by classic rockers the Eagles and ended with a lavish reception on 2 July attended by the guests, who ranged from the Monaco royal family to Prince Edward, with wife Sophie, and Naomi Campbell.

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Princess Charlene and Prince Alberts wedding in 2011
Princess Charlene and Prince Alberts wedding in 2011

The couple's wedding was celebrated over three days

A day after their civil ceremony, Charlene and Albert were married in a Roman-Catholic ceremony on 2 July in the presence of global celebrities and various heads of state.

Charlene was the epitome of sophistication donning an off-the-shoulder Armani Privé silk gown, which took three seamstresses 2,500 hours to make.

Sadly, Albert and Charlene spent their tenth wedding anniversary apart in 2021, due to the princess' ENT infection and subsequent operations, which left her grounded in South Africa.

The Monaco palace shared a highlights video of their marriage at the time, with Charlene expressing that she was missing her husband and their children, on her milestone anniversary.

Princess Charlene's style

Princess Charlene is renowned for her impeccable fashion sense, favouring pieces from high-end and luxury couture brands, including Giorgio Armani, Dior, Lanvin and Swiss label, Akris.

SEE MORE: Princess Charlene's best ever fashion moments

Princess Charlene at the 2015 Princess Grace Awards Gala
Princess Charlene at the 2015 Princess Grace Awards Gala

Charlene is known for her fashion credentials

From a wavy bob to shaved sides and platinum crops, Charlene has also experimented with her hairstyles over the years.

Princess Charlene's charity work

The royal carries out public duties, with a big focus on children and humanitarian causes, as well as incorporating her own sporting links.

As well as attending fundraising galas for the Monaco Red Cross Ball, Charlene became the patron of the South African Red Cross Society on its 68th anniversary in 2016.

In 2012, she created the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation with a mission to put an end to drowning using childhood awareness and preventative measures.

Who are Princess Charlene and Prince Albert's children?

Princess Charlene gave birth to twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, on 10 December 2014 at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre in Monaco.

Despite being younger than his twin sister, Prince Jacques is the heir apparent to the Monegasque throne as the crown passes according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene with their baby twins in 2015
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene with their baby twins in 2015

Charlene and Albert became parents in 2014

Proud mum Charlene often shares updates about her children on her personal Instagram account, including her shock at daughter Princess Gabriella giving herself a haircut!

Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques also have two half-siblings.

Albert fathered Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, born in 1992, with real estate agent Tamara Rotolo. She was confirmed as Prince Albert's daughter in 2006 when she was almost 16 years old. He had previously said he wanted to protect her identity until she was an adult.

Monaco royals in 2022
Monaco royals in 2022

The Monaco royals pictured together in 2022

He also confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, born in 2003, whose mother is Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo, in May 2005, just before he was enthroned as Prince of Monaco.

Neither Jazmin nor Alexandre are in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne as their parents never married.

Princess Charlene's health crisis in 2021

The princess spent much of 2021 in South Africa due to an ear, nose and throat infection, and underwent several surgeries.

She returned home to Monaco in November 2021, and spent time in a treatment facility outside of the principality.

In May 2022, she finally returned to the public eye, stepping out at the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Monaco.

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